On Monday, the Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee held a three hour virtual meeting to vote on removing former State Sen. Bill Owen of Knoxville from his post as a member of the Democratic Committee. The charge? Owen, a lobbyist, has made numerous donations to Republican elected officials, including a 2019 contribution of $8,500 to a U.S. Senate golf tournament that benefited GOP luminaries such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Texas Sen. John Cornyn. Owen argued such donations are the price of lobbying and pointed out the roughly $500,000 he’s raised for Democrats; his opponents on the TNDP said there was no call for him to make personal donations to Republicans. Owen won bigly by a vote of 40 to stay, 15 to go, and three abstentions. The near-ouster followed the TNDP’s April 8 decision to disavow Memphis Rep. John DeBerry and prevent him from running for reelection as a Democrat.
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